World number four Roger Federer plans to skip the clay season in order to shape up ahead of the Wimbledon Championships. The 35-year-old beat Rafael Nadal 6-3, 6-4 in the Miami Open on Sunday to add to his Australian Openand Indian Wells titles in 2017.
But the Swiss, an 18-time Grand Slam winner, has decided to pick and choose which events he will attend outside of this summer's French Open and Wimbledon. He plans to miss out clay events in Istanbul and Rome.
"I want to stay healthy," Federer said on ESPN. "When I'm healthy and feeling good, I can produce tennis like this. If I'm not feeling this good, there's no chance I'll be in finals competing with Rafa. For me basically the second half of the season is the big priority which is why I am taking this break now."
"I will probably stay on hard courts ... and get on the clay two weeks before the French, that's the plan for now and hopefully I will play the French and we will see how the build-up is going to go and for me that's essentially when the season really starts.
"Wimbledon has to be the biggest goal now, in the near future, the American hard courts I guess as well. The French Open I guess, to some extent, we will see what happens, no pressure there really."
Federer ended a four-and-a-half-year wait to win his 18th Grand Slam, becoming the oldest winner of one of his sport's most prized events in 43 years with his triumph in Melbourne. Before that, 2016 has been a write off for the Swiss player who missed most of the season as he recovered from injury.
While he got back to full fitness, Federer dropped out of the top-10 rankings and ended up as low as 17th at the end of the year.